1 Samuel 17:1-18:4
Most of us are familiar with the story of David and Goliath, but I hope we remember it’s not just a “tall tale” to tell, it truly happened and is filled with lessons for us all, as we face our own “giants” in life.
Goliath was indeed a giant. A cubit is approximately 18 inches, and a span is 9 inches, so altogether Goliath was close to 10 feet tall! He was massive AND mighty. His armor alone weighed-in at 125 pounds and the end of his spear weighed the same as a sledge-hammer. Imagine the strength required to swing a sledge hammer like a sword! Most men need two hands just to pick one up!
This explains why none of the soldiers of Israel were willing to take him up on his offer – to represent their nations and fight each other, one on one. It doesn’t really surprise us regarding Saul, but even Jonathan wasn’t willing to take him on!
Enter the young David who happened to be there delivering some food for his brothers. He assesses the situation and has no hesitation. To David the deduction is simple. This ungodly Philistine was defying the armies of the living God and needed to die. David knew the LORD would give him the victory, for God had shown his faithfulness in the past (killing a lion and a bear).
And isn’t that the way it works, the way it should be? We can have faith for the future because of God’s faithfulness in the past.
David convinced King Saul to let him into the ring, but he had to do it in his own skin, not the king’s armor. David ran to the battle with 100% confidence – he was in it for the glory of God. The Philistine laughed, he saw David as a dog. David was probably small and skinny (Goliath called him a stick), but David knew exactly what was about to happen:
1 Samuel 17:45–47 (NKJV) “Then David said to the Philistine, ‘You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. 47 Then all this assembly shall know that the LORD does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD’s, and He will give you into our hands.’”
David then slung his stone, which struck Goliath in the forehead, bam, as simple as that! What a thud it must have been when Goliath hit the ground face first! David then takes his sword and chops off his head. If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)
This kind of faith is contagious and David lights a fire in the hearts of all the soldiers, who chased the Philistines as far as Gath and Ekron (10 miles away – see map below).
This puts David on the radar screen, he’s not just a musician behind the scene, he’s now identified as a warrior drafted into Saul’s army.
I’ve always loved the way Jonathan’s soul is knit to David’s, there’s an instant love, and covenant; Jonathan even gives David his armor, sword, bow, and belt. What does this mean? Well, at this point David is a picture of Jesus, and Jonathan is a picture of us (at least he should be). Have we come to Jesus as Jonathan did? Have we surrendered everything to the One who has slain the giant! Big words here, like love, knit hearts, and covenant. Jonathan was wise and humble enough to know that David was king…may we be wise and humble enough to know that Jesus is King.
John 8:21 is a statement of fact, but I don’t think it was necessarily a statement of fate. Jesus is still trying to reach the people with words of of warning. If these Jewish leaders (and anyone for that matter) continued to resist Christ, they wouldn’t go to heaven, they would die in their sin.
They did not understand, they could not comprehend, they were not born again, they were only of the earth (John 3:3, 31).
Jesus again warns these Jewish leaders, that if they did not acknowledge who Jesus was (God in the flesh) they would die in their sins.
In the Greek language John 8:24 reads, “…for if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins.” (Did you notice the word “he” is italicized? That means that this word is not present in the original language.)
The Jews knew that this was a claim to deity, for back in Exodus 3:14 this is how the LORD revealed Himself to Moses, to Israel, and to all the world. We read the conversation between Moses and God:
Exodus 3:13-14 (NKJV) “Then Moses said to God, ‘Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?’ And God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’ And He said, ‘Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’’”
The Jews knew the LORD as the great “I Am,” and Jesus takes that title to Himself here in John 8:24 and again in John 8:58. They knew He was claiming to be God, and therefore tried to stone Him (John 8:59).
They ask Jesus, “Who are you?” (John 8:25)
All along, Jesus has been sharing the truth that He has been sent by the Father. For those of us who believe, we see it in the cross and resurrection (Jesus being lifted up) how Jesus was obedient to His Father, even to the point of death (Philippians 2:8). Jesus did nothing apart from His Father’s will, He spoke nothing apart from the Father’s words, His Father was with Him perpetually, for Jesus’ heart was always to please Him.
For some of the listeners (primarily laymen) it was starting to make sense. Some believed. Jesus’ works, His words, His life, His love, His mission, His mercy – no doubt He stood out like a sore thumb in comparison to the religious leaders of the day. So some started to believe IN HIM.
Do you know who Jesus is? Do you know what He’s done? Do you believe?
Hallelujah! Hallelujah with my whole heart, the Psalmist cries out, Hallelujah!
This Psalm offers a variety of reasons we praise the LORD wholeheartedly and reminds us to remember (Psalm 111:4) and even study about the things that God has done.
Psalms 111:2 (NKJV) “The works of the LORD are great, studied by all who have pleasure in them.”
Those of you reading this blog/commentary, may actually qualify as someone who studies the works of the Lord. I commend you, it means you have “pleasure,” in them (you love the Lord and His Word).
As we ponder life and read the Bible we remember God’s works, His righteousness, His amazing grace, and the way He is FULL of compassion. The reason to worship ranges for appreciation from the way He feeds us to the way He has saved us – now under the New Covenant (Psalm 111:5).
God gave Israel power over nations in certain seasons, and God gave Israel, and all of us the power of His Word (Psalm 111:7).
We have redemption by the blood of His Son (Psalm 111:9). This bring me to that place of fearing Him, in absolute awe; it puts within me a desire to obey God, my Redeemer, who is so good to us.
Psalm 111:10 (NKJV) “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever.”
Amen and Hallelujah!
God sees Hell and Destruction. In the Hebrew language, these words are Sheol and Abaddon. Sheol is the abode of the dead and Abaddon is the worst place there, as a matter of fact, Abaddon is the very title of the devil in Revelation 9:11.
NET Notes, “These terms represent the remote underworld and all…that reside there (e.g., Proverbs 27:20; Job 26:6; Psalm 139:8; Amos 9:2; Revelation 9:11). The Lord knows everything about this remote region.”
Solomon knew this; he may have learned it from Job who said in:
Job 26:6 (NKJV) “Sheol is naked before Him, and Destruction has no covering.”
Or maybe he heard it from his dad, David who wrote in:
Psalm 139:7–8 (NKJV) “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? 8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.”
He sees all hell and destruction (it’s a given) and of course, He also sees all of our hearts. O Lord, please make it clean (Psalm 51:10).
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.